Christian Theology of the Body and the Body Positivity Movement




Beck, Nathanael

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In this thesis, I review theology of the body in Catholic and Protestant history and discuss what it means to use and misuse the body, investigating the theology of fasting and the muscular Christianity movement to explore nuances. Then, I review literature on the body positivity movement and find that it advocates for acceptance of all body types and self-love regardless of appearance. While this movement does not always neglect health, it almost always promotes moral relativism, putting the body in the service of personal pleasure. Contrary to the individualistic, affirmative nature of body positivity, Christianity understands that bodies ought to be humbly used in the service of God’s Kingdom. I argue that conformity to the Christian view not only provides motivation for health, but also addresses the concerns that body positivity has about body image and self-valuation.



Theology, Society, Christianity, Body Positivity